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CODE - A Media, Games & Art Conference (21-23 November 2012, Melbourne, Australia)
full name / name of organization:
Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne
Call for Papers and Creative Works
Code can be defined in two distinct but related ways: as an underlying technological process, a set of rules and instructions governing, for instance, the permutations of all those 0s and 1s obscured behind user interfaces, but also as a cultural framework navigated and understood socially and performatively, as is the case with legal, social and behavioural codes. As an operative principle, code’s significance thus extends far deeper than its current digital manifestation. For this conference, we invite submissions of papers and creative works that consider the role of code as a simultaneously material and semiotic force that operates across the wider cultural, social and political field, with particular emphasis on media, games and art.
The conference theme is also an opportunity to reflect on how, as academics and creative practitioners, we often participate in but can also challenge the disciplinary and institutional codes that can arbitrarily separate these domains. CODE will be a transdisciplinary event that brings media studies, media arts and games studies into dialogue through individual papers, combined panels, master classes and an included exhibition.
- Code and the in/visible: what are the technical, ideological and academic aspects that work to obscure codes? And what might be the strategies for making codes visible again? Topics: ‘screen essentialism’ (Kirschenbaum 2008); race and/as technology (Chun 2009); glitch and error; programming activism; DIY coding; game exploits.
- Code and/as ideology: as something that both carries and obscures meaning, what is code’s relationship to ideology? Topics: Black-boxing; the fetish of visualisation (Chun 2011); ‘there is no software’ (Kittler 2005); code as social frame; encoding/decoding.
- Coding the disciplines: media and games studies. How do these closely related disciplinary formations account for their existence? What epistemological and methodological insights might they share or contribute to one another, perhaps through emergent fields like software studies and platform politics? Or should they remain distinct?
- The deeper history of code: as a principle of information exchange, code’s centrality in media and communications technologies goes beyond the digital. What is the role of code in the deeper history of media, and what are the media archaeological resonances or links between ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms of code? Can their emergence often be traced back to the military-industrial complex? Topics: Prehistory of code; Morse code and semaphore; encryption and cryptography; cybernetics and early computing; pre- and non-digital games.
- Code and the public/private: What are the historical, legislative, technological and cultural settings for the emergence of ‘public privacy’, in which public signifying systems are vehicles for highly personal messages? Topics: public, private and intimate spheres; epistolary networks; social media; reality programming; celebrity; geolocating identity, meaning and destination.
- ‘Code and other laws of media’: the continuities and discontinuities of different codes. Just as legal codes embedded in technical protocols like digital rights management may disastrously overextend copyright protections (Lessig 1999), how else do different codes meet, overlap, extend and come into conflict with one another? Topics: Copyright and intellectual property; distribution; technical, legal, social and behavioural codes.
- Security codes: Though code often serves to secure and obscure authority, it remains vulnerable to hacking, raising the spectre of a whole new form of risk society operating at the level of code and through its breaches and accidents – how does this play out across networked information, communication and entertainment environments? Topics: phone hacking; Wikileaks; Anonymous and software-based protest; gaming hacks and cracks; data theft.
- Code and agency: Interactive media, games, art and cultural practice can all deal with the relationship between the interacting participant and the coded system. What aesthetics and politics are at work when the participant’s presumed agency and the coded constraints are in tension? Topics: aesthetics of code-based media; interface; participant experience; emergence/counter-play; proceduralism and performativity.
- Bodies in code: how do information and code, not only interfaces and devices, reconfigure the social, political and corporeal body, and vice versa? How might we conceptualise the materiality and ontology of code in relation to phenomenologies of embodiment and new materialism? Topics: post-humanism (Hayles 1999); new and vital materialism (Bennett 2010); genetics and other codes for the body; disembodiment and immateriality.
- Failures of code: Much of code’s power lies in its invisibility, a transparency that allows it to be embedded as the ‘common sense’ of everyday life, but what happens when code fails, socially culturally, politically or technologically, or is exploited? Topics: rules and disobedience; comedy; subversion; disruption; revolution.
:: For further discussion, please view the conference website: http://code2012.wikidot.com
The CODE conference will include a thematic exhibition. We are seeking submissions of screen-based works, pervasive games, and locative media projects that respond to the conference themes. Projected and performance works will also be considered.
- Panel submissions: panel submission should include three/four individual abstracts of 300 words, a panel title, and a 200 words rationale for the panel as a whole.
- Artists should submit a 250 word outline of the proposed creative work including links to supporting documentation (10 stills or up to 3 minutes of video).
All submissions are due 31 May 2012 and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your name, affiliation, contact details, and a brief bio.
A special journal issue or edited collection on the conference theme is planned.